‘Us Two’ is one of several poems that A. A. Milne wrote based on his characters from his Winnie-the-Pooh stories. The speaker is unnamed in this particular poem, but when one considers the broader oeuvre that Milne created, it’s likely that he was thinking about Christopher Robin. He is the young male character who accompanies Pooh, Eeyore, and all the rest on their adventures. The child was famously inspired by Milne’s own son.
Explore Us Two
From the first lines of the poem, it’s clear that the speaker, a young boy, likely Christopher Robin, is bolstered by the presence of Pooh. Together they agree on everything, feel the same emotions, and are prepared for the same adventures. The poem centers around their friendship while also describing their trip to find some dragons (birds) and how they were unafraid when they scared the dragons away.
You can read the full poem here.
The primary theme in ‘Us Two’ is friendship. The poem emphasizes the importance of having a good friend to lean on when one is scared and to accompany one through life. Although the poem is fairly short and far from complicated, readers should walk away reminded of how meaningful having another similar person around you can be. The speaker feels braver and stronger when Pooh is there, and Pooh feels the same way.
Structure and Form
‘Us Two’ by A. A. Milne is a six-stanza poem that is separated into four sets of seven lines, one set of five and another set of two. The poem mostly follows a rhyme scheme of ABAAABA, repeating the same rhyme sounds. The pattern changes when Milne gets to the five-line and two-line stanzas. The fourth stanza rhymes ABAAA and the fifth stanza does not rhyme at all.
Milne makes use of several literary devices in ‘Us Two’. These include but are not limited to alliteration, repetition, and anaphora. Alliteration is a common literary device that’s concerned with the use and reuse of the same consonant sounds at the beginning of multiple words. For example, “found” and “few” in line three of the third stanza or “Pooh” and “paw” in stanza four. These are only a few of the many examples in this piece. There are more than the usual number of alliterative words in ‘Us Two’ due to the more general use of repetition.
Most prominently, repetition is seen through the use of the same phrase multiple times. “Me” and Winnie-the-Pooh are having a conversation that involves a great deal of repetition. For example, the last two lines of most of the stanzas end with lines similar to “But that’s what it is,” said Pooh, said he. / “That’s what it is,” said Pooh.”
There are also examples of anaphora in ‘Us Two’. This is another kind of repetition that is concerned with the first word or words of lines in the stanzas. For instance, “Lets go together” starts lines six and seven of the first stanza, and “That’s what they are” starts lines six and seven of the third stanza.
Stanzas One and Two
Wherever I am, there’s always Pooh,
There’s always Pooh and Me.
Whatever I do, he wants to do,
“Where are you going today?” says Pooh:
But that’s what it is,” said Pooh, said he.
“That’s what it is,” said Pooh.
In the first stanza of ‘Us Two,’ the speaker, who is likely Christopher Robin, the young boy at the center of the Winnie-the-Pooh stories, is describing his relationship with Pooh. Wherever he is, Pooh is there too. He always wants to do the same thing and is just as interested, afraid, or brave as the speaker is. This creates the image of Pooh as a kind of imaginary friend, one who is always there for you no matter what happens. They decide in the first stanza to “go together” wherever they’re going. Then, in the second stanza, they do some math and agree that it was not an “easy sum to do”.
The poem is filled with simple and repetitive rhymes. Milne even makes use of the same words at the end of multiple lines, a technique known as epistrophe. This would make the poem all the more pleasing for young children to hear read aloud, or even read themselves.
Stanzas Three and Four
“Let’s look for dragons,” I said to Pooh.
“Yes, let’s,” said Pooh to Me.
“That’s right,” said Pooh to Me.
“I’m not afraid,” I said to Pooh,
And I held his paw and I shouted “Shoo!
Silly old dragons!”- and off they flew.
In the third stanza of ‘Us Two,’ the poet leans into the vision of Pooh as an imaginary friend. here, the two are exploring their imaginary world together. They’re going to look “for dragons” across the river. The alliteration phrase “found a few” confirms that they’ve been successful. There is an amusing moment in this stanza when Pooh acknowledges the dragons without much excitement or fear. Something about their “beaks” gave them away as dragons he said. With the reputation of “That’s what they are” at the end of the stanza, it seems obvious that the two haven’t actually discovered dragons but something that resembles them, in their imaginary world. Perhaps some kind of bird.
The idea of the dragons as birds is confirmed in the next stanza when the two “shoo” the dragons off. Their impressed with their own bravery and commend one another on it.
Stanzas Five and Six
“I wasn’t afraid,” said Pooh, said he,
“I’m never afraid with you.”
So wherever I am, there’s always Pooh,
Can stick together, says Pooh, says he. “That’s how it is,” says Pooh.
The fifth stanza is only two lines long, allowing it to stand out from the others. It’s in these lines that the relationship between Pooh and the speaker is briefly elaborated on. When they are together, neither of them are afraid. Their friendship improves them both.
In the final seven lines of the poem, the speaker reiterates the opening lines of stanza one. The poem concludes with Pooh and the speaker agreeing that everything is more fun with “Two” than it is with “One”. So, they’re going to stick together.
Readers who enjoyed ‘Us Two’ should also consider reading some of A. A. Milne’s other best-known poems, many of which revolve around the characters from his Winnie-the-Pooh stories. For example, ‘Poem by Eeyore,’ ‘Vespers,’ and ‘Sneezles’. The latter is a fun two stanza poem that features Christopher Robin. In the poem, the speaker describes a complex, nonsense illness that Christopher contracts. ‘Poem by Eeyore’ is based around the donkey Eeyore from Milne’s stories. It depicts his amusing attempt to write a poem while commenting on how he thinks it’s going. Some other writers that readers might be interested in are Shel Silverstein and Ogden Nash.